Founders

Alison Becker Chase

ALISON BECKER CHASE was born and raised in St. Louis, received her B.A. in Intellectual History and Philosophy from Washington University and her M.A. in Dance from UCLA.  She was choreographer in residence and Assistant Professor of Dance at Dartmouth College for three years before joining Pilobolus in 1973. With Moses Pendleton she premiered the company Momix at the Milan Festival in 1980.  Ms. Chase taught at Yale from 1991-1997.  She was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1980 and a Connecticut Governor’s Award in 1997. She has choreographed for La Scala Opera, the Geneva Opera, the Ballet du Rhin, the Fete du L’Humanite,  the Ririe-Woodbury Company, and for the Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall.  She has also choreographed an “Urban Nutcracker” in collaboration with the Cleveland School for the Arts. 

Jonathan Wolken

JONATHAN WOLKEN, 1949-2010, co-founded Pilobolus in 1971, naming the company after a feisty fungus being researched in his father’s biophysics lab.   He remained one of Pilobolus’ Artistic Directors as well as Director of Development until his death on June 13, 2010.  Mr. Wolken graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Philosophy.  During his career he created 46 works for Pilobolus, in collaboration with its other artistic directors, with guest artists and as sole choreographer.   He also choreographed for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are”, and created “Oneiric” featured in a jointly produced Danish Television feature for members of the Royal Danish Ballet. Over the years he taught many workshops and was dedicated to the furtherance of Pilobolus technique not only in dance but also as a model for creative thinking in any field.  

Lee Harris

LEE HARRIS, Dartmouth class of 1973, was a member of the original Pilobolus troupe of four men who founded Pilobolus.  In addition to the roles of dancer and joint choreographer, he managed Pilobolus’s finances, stage management, and lighting activities.  He left the company in the spring of 1974 after the company’s initial breakout tour of Europe and Israel to pursue a career in computer software.  However, he has retained a passionate interest in the Company ever since, never misses an opportunity to see a performance, and is grateful to have had a small part in launching Pilobolus as one of America’s premier modern dance companies.

Martha Clarke

MARTHA CLARKE, a founding member of Pilobolus Dance Theatre and Crowsnest, has choreographed for the Nederlans Dans Theater, the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Rambert Dance Company and the Martha graham Company, among others.  As a director, Ms. Clarke’s many original productions include Vienna Lusthaus, Miracolo d’amore, Endangered Species, An Uncertain Hour, The Hunger Artist, Vers la Flame and Garden of Earthly Delights.  She directed the premiere of Christopher Hampton’s Alice’s Adventures Underground at the Royal National Theatre in London.  In opera, Ms. Clarke has directed The Magic Flute for the Glimmerglass Opera and the Canadian Opera Company, Cosi  fan tutte for Gliimmerglass, Tan Don’s Marco Polo for the Munich Biennale, the Hong Kong Festival and the New York City Opera, and Gluck’s Orfeo and Euridice for the English National Opera and the New York City Opera.  She directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the American Repertory Theatre and a new music/theater work, Belle Epoque, based on the life of Toulouse Lautrec at Lincoln Center.  Ms. Clarke is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Award and grants from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation.  She has received the Drama Desk Award, two Obie Awards, and the L.A. Critics Award.

 

Michael Tracy

Charter Artistic Director

MICHAEL TRACY was born in Florence and raised in New England. He met the other Pilobolus founders at Dartmouth in 1969, and became an Artistic Director after graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1973. Michael toured with Pilobolus for 14 yearsfor eight as the only touring Directorand continues to choreograph and direct the company. He has set his work on the Joffrey, Ohio, Hartford, Nancy, and Verona Ballets, and choreographed a production of Mozart’s Magic Flute with John Eliot Gardiner, the Monteverdi Choir, and the English Baroque Soloists, and a national tour production for the National Theater of the Deaf. Michael taught at Yale University for two decades and lives in northwestern Connecticut.

Photo by Oriel Pe’er

Moses Pendelton

MOSES PENDLETON was born and raised on a farm in northern Vermont.  He received his B.A. in English Literature from Dartmouth College in 1971 and co-founded Pilobolus that same year and was one of its artistic directors until 1990.  In addition to his work with Pilobolus, Pendleton has choreographed and performed for numerous companies throughout the world.  He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1977.   Mr. Pendleton has performed as a soloist in galas throughout Europe and at the Metropolitan Opera House as well as with his own company, Momix, which he founded with Alison Chase in 1980.  

 

Robby Barnett

Charter Artistic Director

ROBBY BARNETT was born and raised in the Adirondack Mountains and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1972. In addition to his work with Pilobolus, he has been variously employed as a technical metal worker, an instructor for Outward Bound, Inc., a garden and landscape designer, and has taught skiing and high school art. Mr. Barnett lives in northwestern Connecticut with his wife and two children.

Photo by Oriel Pe’er

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